Galesburg lead water testing results show improvements

Galesburg has spent the last three years working to replace the town’s lead water service lines.

Results from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency water quality testing that was done in June and July show that those efforts are paying off as the city tested in the 90th percentile for the second year in a row in their testing.

None of the 30 samples taken exceeded the 15 parts per billion action level and even the average test of 4.1 ppb was better than 2018’s average of 6.9 ppb.

Galesburg was highlighted in a 2016 Associated Report for these same tests exceeding EPA action levels, suggesting a high number of local children testing elevated blood lead levels were the result of lead lines.

Health officials have long pointed to the county’s aging housing stock as a more likely culprit since lead paint was common in homes built before 1978.

So far, the city has replaced 1,300 service lines with another 350 expected by March, before the city anticipates getting another Illinois EPA loan to replace an additional 500 service lines.

Knox County still has had up to 17 percent of tested children show elevated blood lead levels in recent years, but health officials have long said that has more to do with lead dust in aging homes than lead service lines.

Children at the highest risk for lead exposure are under 6-years-old, live in a house built before 1978 and are eligible for medical assistance.

Galesburg homes with lead service lines are becoming exceedingly rare as the city continues to make progress towards their goal of eliminating lead service lines.

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